WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the first time, those following the sell-out October 25th Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., can track the progress of an individual or all 16,000 runners while the race is in progress, thanks to a dime-sized computer chip, Bell Atlantic Mobile's AirBridge® wireless data network, and the Internet.
Runners will wear a computer chip threaded into their shoe laces which will track their time and place in the field as they run the 26.2 mile race. When runners cross each of five timing stations, a sensor in the chip will register their precise time. This data will be downloaded into the Marine Corps Marathon's database via laptop computers equipped with Bell Atlantic Mobile wireless modems. This information will then be sent via Bell Atlantic wireless data network to the Marine Corps Marathon's website.
Journalists, family members and others interested in knowing race results can log onto www.marinemarathon.com to get timely updates as they happen.
"This is a first," said Marine Corps Marathon Marketing Director David Watt. "No other race is meshing the computer chip, the laptop computer, the wireless network and the Internet to keep the world informed about a race as it happens. The cellular network and the Internet have forever changed the way people can follow the Marine Corps Marathon.
"This is a very creative use of advanced and converging technologies," said Gary Schulman, president of Bell Atlantic Mobile in the Washington/Baltimore region. "We're really proud to support the marathon with the tremendous power of our wireless data technology. There's really no limit to the kind of information that can be instantly sent and received, anytime, anywhere. The only limitation is the imagination."
The Internet has been a powerful factor in another aspect of the Marathon. In only the second year in which racers could register online, a full 40 percent of the field logged on and registered over the Internet. Consequently, the race sold out sooner than ever: June 17, beating last year's record of August 27.
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East, covering 112,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 5.7 million customers and 7,000 employees from Maine to Georgia and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent is one of the world's largest wireless communications companies, with domestic operations in 25 states and international investments in Mexico, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For more information on Bell Atlantic global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.